Google launched an update for its popular Maps application that allows users to save their location history directly on their phone rather than in the cloud.
First launched in 2013, Location Tracking allowed users to see where they were minute-by-minute, but few users chose to use the feature because of the security and privacy risks associated with this data being in the cloud.
The new release gives users much more control over their data by keeping the data local on the phone, and providing easy-to-use functions to control how long data is stored, enabling users to delete or save specific locations.
Location data was previously stored for 18 months, but the new version of Maps defaults to keeping the data for only three months.
Users can select to store special locations or timelines for longer times from an easy-to-access administrative screen.
On any timeline, users can simply click the blue dot that represents a specific time and delete the location of an entire timeline.
For those switching to a new phone, an automatically encrypted backup can be briefly uploaded into the cloud to make it easier to transfer to the new phone.
Being able to store and recall locations can help you keep the location of a favorite coffee shop or neighborhood bookstore so you can easily find them again.
Many find these conveniences too risky, and location-tracking features are high on the list of concerns of security experts.
As always, users should be cognizant that phones can be compromised and location data can show patterns of behavior, putting them at risk.
Whether these new features will make users more inclined to use location tracking remains to be seen.